Thursday, March 16, 2006

The case of Narayan Sanyal and PUCL

About three months back (December 2005 to be exact), I received a mail in the both PUCL and the chhattisgarh-net yahoogroups, protesting against the arrest of one Narayan Sanyal by the Chhattisgarh police. This name rang a bell. Narayan Sanyal is the real name of Vijay, who is one of the top leaders of the CPI(Maoist). 70 year old Narayan alias Vijay has been evading arrest since last 40 years and considered as the thinking brain behind most of the naxal attacks, including the outrageous Jehanabad jail attack and the bid on the life of ex-CM of AP, M Chandrababu Naidu. Narayan was a strong beleiver in the unity of all maoist organizations, and was instrumental in the aquisition of MCC by PWG and formation of CPI(Maoist). He was also instrumental in preserving the violent character of the movement, and it was on his personal instructions that maoist are so brutal on anyone they suspect to be a police informer. He is said to be personally involved in the brutal beheading of around 20 villagers in Talimendrion village of Dantewada in 2001 because they participated in a government sponsored pulse polio drive for their children which the maoists had forbidden.

Unconfirmed reports also indicate that Narayan killed many fellow revolutionaries, who wanted to return to the mainstream. It has also been reported that he visited north-east and China in the early 90’s to form a pan-indian revolutionary party. He failed in his efforts because of the reluctance of north-east guerillas. Now, anyone will feel releived that finally 70 years later, the law was able to catch such a dreaded terrorist. That’s why, I was shocked when I received a protest mail by two premier civil rights organizations of the country, PUCL and PUDR, which otherwise have an impeccable record in fighting and securing human rights in India. I beleive that these organizations had acted overzealous in writing the protest mail. But no, they didn’t stop after issuing a statement, but actually organized a protest dharna in Delhi on 3rd January 2006. Being a deep believer of civil rights, this news was personally devastating for me.

There are a couple of very very crucial points, which I would like to make here. The first mail was written on 29th December 2005 and reported that Narayan had suddenly disappeared on 28th evening from Raipur, where he had come for his medical treatment. Now, Narayan had been an absconder in the eyes of law since last 35 years. Where did PUCL/PUDR got the information that he had come to Raipur to see a doctor and where dd the come to know about his disappearance. How can a person said to be disappeared, when the media cannot reach him, when his family cannot reach him, when the state cannot reach him for last 35 years? Eliminating the absurd contention that PUDR had sheltered a wanted criminal (he carried a reward of Rs. 12 lacs on his head), the only possibility is that maoists organization had alerted them about the disappearance. How come maoists become so trustworthy that within one day of the said arrest, they give a press statement condemning the state government of Chhattisgarh? Some very prominent figures sat in the dharna organised in Jantar Mantar Delhi, on 6th January, trusting the maoist SOS to them, and raise this issue at the highest level because of their extensive contacts.

And how did the same maoists react after Narayan disappeared? Narayan Sanyal, a brahmin, had a long standing tiff with another top functionary of CPI (Maoist) named Rabindranath Kar, a dalit. Mr. Kar was a charismatic ground level party functionary, who did not harbour any panoramic ambitions other than to see the empowerment of dalits and tribals. (I will write a separate article on the horrendous caste system in the naxal organization) Despite the differences and despite the threats by Narayan, he continued to work for the guerillas beleiving in the ideology, and refused to surrender to the police. Narayan’s followers suspected Kar to be behind the arrest of their leader. The reprisal was soon to come. On 1st January 2006, barely 3 days after Narayan disappeared from Raipur, Kar and his wife, Anandamayee, were hacked to death. Both of them were beheaded in front of their daughter. Surprisingly, while the PUCL and PUDR were extremely vocal against the “arrest” of Narayan, the news of Kar’s murder along with his wife did not have any effect on them. If it were not for some people whom I deeply admire working for these organizations, and some very visible and positive results of their campaigns, notable among them is the release of Mr. SAR Gilani who was falsely implicated by the Indian state, I would have concurred with one of my friends who claims that all human rights organization in India are by their very nature, anti-women and anti-dalit. I don’t think PUCL is anti-dalit or anti-women at all, but the way they perceive crime against women, like the murder of Mrs. Kar, needs serious introspection by these organizations.

It so happenned that the arrest of Narayan by the Chhattisgarh police never really happenned. Ironically, he was arrested by the AP police on 3rd January 2006 in Bhadrachalam town, in possession of some highly sophisticated weapons. That was barely 6 days aftet he was suppossedly disappeared from Raipur. He was produced by the AP police in Khammam district court the very same day. Now Bhadrachallam is 700 km away from Raipur, and the path goes through 300 km of dense naxal territory. Narayan was equally wanted in Chhattisgarh because of his criminal activities in the state. There is no way CG police will let him go with the AP police without trying him in Chhattisgarh first. There is no way that CG police will so easily let go the credit that it will get for arresting a criminal who have charges against him in 7 states of the country, carries a Rs 12 lakh rewrd on his head and is evading arrest for last 30 years.

Narayan is in the Warangal jail now. A total of 12 charges have been filed against him which, carry a maximum penalty of death. There are charges of planning and committing murder of around 200 civilians. If even one of the charges is proved against him Narayan will be guilty of crimes against humanity. The case is still on.

But what happenned between December 28 2005 and January 15 2006 is a real eye opener. Our human rights organizations have to go beyond. They cannot be guilty of trivialising grave issues and taking a lazy outlook. I will call it lazy activism which fives full credence to a letter by people who are themselves the worst perpetrators of the crimes, and organize dharnas and writing protest mails without trying to do any investigation. They have too much at stake. As country's premier human rights organizations, they can never be complacent about these issues. More specifically they have to be equally sensitive towards women’s rights, lest they be seen as anti-women. These days, the terrorists turn to the lap of these organizations the mount the state tightes its screws around them. The human rights cannot be seen as an instrument of terror on the weak and marginalised communities.

I put forth the following demands :

  1. PUDR and PUCL tender an unconditional apology to Chhattisgarh state and its police for maligning them.
  2. PUDR and PUCL condemn the killing of Mr. and Mrs. Kar by the maoists. And they must demand that the perpetratos be bought to book by WB state as soon as possible.
  3. All the cases against Mr. Kar be investigated and he be tried in a fast track court. A person accussed of such crimes cannot be absolved because of judicial inertia.
  4. PUDR and PUCL investigate the countless cases of human rights oppression by the naxalites in Chhattisgarh on poor tribals and issue an white paper on those attrocities.


At 9:32 am, Blogger Ashish said...

dude, surely you mean guerillas and not gorillas!

well written article....why dont you publish it in some forum where it will get more hits?

At 9:43 am, Blogger Anoop Saha said...

Thanks for the correction Sarkar. I think a spellchecker will be a nice little plugin for blogspot.
I will surely send this letter to PUDR, RDF, Indian Government and CG Government.

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